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Dzaleka Filmmakers, Kuipa win in Focus on Ability Fest

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MacDonald Nyirenda

Dzaleka Filmmakers from Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa and Lilongwe-based filmmaker Philmon Kuipa on Sunday triumphed as Best Film winners in the Focus on Ability Film Festival Malawi held at Iqra Hall formerly Apollo Cinema in Blantyre.

Dzaleka Filmmakers won with their film titled It’s Not My Fault while Kuipa was victorious with his film Resilience.

The two received US$ 500 each.

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One of the members of Dzaleka Filmmakers, who also stars in the short film, Berger Badere Bellegie was over the moon with the success.

“We are excited to win in the contest. There were a lot of movies which entered but we are happy to be top. We live in a community where there are people living with various disabilities hence taking up a role of bringing awareness through this film,” Bellegie said.

The film – It’s Not My Fault, talks about a disabled person, who was underrated in the community and yet he was a very good mechanic.

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Kuipa was also excited coming out top in the competition.

“For a long time, I have been wanting to tell a story about rights of people with disabilities and tried to get support. And so, when this competition came up I utilised it and reached out to three people working on three films,” he said.

Kuipa said his film Resilience, talks about the life of Overstone Kondowe, who is a person living with albinism.

“It’s a story about the life of Overstone Kondowe, who is now the advisor to the president on disability. I am looking at how resilient he has been to fight for persons with disabilities,” he said.

In the category of Best Actor (Person with disability) in the film, the winners were Talandira Kagoya for the movie Chosen and Wailesi Taimmu for the film No In-ability in Me.

During the event, the audience had a chance of sampling 26 films that were screened.

Focus on Ability on Ability Society (Foas) Executive Director MacDonald Nyirenda, described the 2020 edition as a success.

“It has been a great day today as the fourth edition since we started in 2017, it is a year of improvement from 12 films to 26 films, Focus on Ability is growing,” Nyirenda said.

He called on parents of children with ability in the country to support them and send them to school as well as encourage them when they notice their different talents.

Ryan Goodwin from Focus on Ability headquarters in Sydney, Australia, has since congratulated the winners through a video which was played during the event.

“Congratulations to all participants. We received a record 26 entries which is a big number. So, big congratulations to filmmakers and stars and the Focus on Ability Malawi team for creating amazing opportunities,” Goodwin said.

He said the judges had a torrid time to come up with the winners saying all the entries were powerful.

Goodwin also revealed that this year two Malawian films have made it to the top five on the international stage.

“Two entries have made it in overall Focus on Ability and it is the first time Malawi has made top five, I can’t disclose the films,” he said.

The winners of the overall winners on the international stage will be announced on November 5, 2020.

Focus on Ability Short Film Festival is an international initiative by Nova Employment in Australia. The festival is aimed at raising awareness of the abilities of people with a disability through short films.

Every year the festival asks filmmakers to produce short films to encourage the community to become more aware of the abilities of people with a disability.

The event was founded in 2009 by Nova Employment Chief Executive Officer Martin Wren before Malawi also created a festival on the local level.

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